Weekend read: this is the first-ever advert on the internet

Here it is:


And now the only answer is no, not deliberately. At least we think we don’t click on banner ads but enough people do that the world keeps moving and has done so for twenty years now. For this is the twentieth anniversary of the web banner ad and if you’re not in the mood to celebrate, read anyway because The Internet History Podcast has a remarkably interesting story.

It begins:

Of course, it’s not *technically* the first banner ad. There was no “one” first banner ad. Instead, there were around 12-14 banners, which all went live 20 years ago today, on October 27th, 1994. That was when the website HotWired.com first launched on the internet.

What follows is the story of the world’s first banner ad (or ads). This topic may not seem like something to celebrate, but think about this:

Basically, the majority of the web and the Internet are subsidized by ads.

The net as we know it today would not exist without ads. There would be no Google search. No Gmail. No Facebook. No Twitter. No Reddit. Nor any website that you can use basically for free…

Without advertising, that is.

Sure, there are huge sections of the Internet that function on a different revenue model (Amazon, eBay, iTunes and other things come to mind) but the vast majority of the online world we love is underpinned by an economic infrastructure of advertising.

This is the story of how that infrastructure was fist built, by the people who conceived and designed the very first banners.

On The 20th Anniversary, An Oral History of the Web’s First Banner Ads – Brian McCulloch, Internet History Podcast (27 October 2014)

Read the full piece where you can also listen to the podcast version.

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